THIEF! The Gutsy, True Story of an Ex-Con Artist

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THIEF! character, Vince Eli

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

1960 Presidential Election Reeks of Corruption

If you think this year's presidential voting is fixed, corrupt or just plain weird, many of you may remember another election year in 1960 between JFK and Richard Nixon:

Some Republicans and historians have alleged that Kennedy benefited from vote fraud, especially in Texas and Illinois, and that Nixon actually won the national popular vote despite the fact that Republicans tried and failed to overturn the results in both these states at the time--as well as in nine other states. These two states are important because if Nixon had carried both, he would have won the election in the electoral college.

Kennedy won Illinois by less than 9,000 votes out of 4.75 million cast, even though Nixon carried 92 of the state's 101 counties. Kennedy's victory in Illinois came from the city of Chicago, where Mayor Richard J. Daley held back much of Chicago's vote until the late morning hours of November 9. The efforts of Daley and the powerful Chicago Democratic organization gave Kennedy an extraordinary Cook County victory margin of 450,000 votes --- more than 10% of Chicago's 1960 population of 3.55 million -- thus (barely) overcoming the heavy Republican vote in the rest of Illinois. Earl Mazo, a reporter for the pro-Nixon New York Herald Tribune, investigated the voting in Chicago and claimed to have discovered sufficient evidence of vote fraud to prove that the state was stolen for Kennedy.

Slick remembers that election very well. He was working as a bartender at a Chicago Outfit strip club called the Showboat. Giancana warned all of the strip club workers that they had better get down to the polls and vote for JFK or else... If that wasn't enough of a warning, the Chicago Alderman stationed at the polls told all the mob associates they'd break the hands of anyone who didn't vote Democrat. Slick needed no further encouragement.

It's also true that Nixon sent his brother Don to Meyer Lansky to appeal for help in his campaign against JFK. Nixon needed money, the union vote, and the State of Illinois, heavily controlled by the mob. But Meyer refused to support Nixon who he viewed as dishonest and power hungry. Nixon’s loss to JFK prompted Nixon to tell Bebe Rebozo, “I’ll destroy Meyer Lansky some day.” It never happened.

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